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Ananya Padhihary

Although there are a number of government welfare schemes for people with disabilities, they are beyond the reach of those who need those in Odisha’s Khurda District.

As many as 11,000 complaints filed by differently-abled people are alleged to have been lying unattended at government offices while the district administration appears to be oblivious about it.

While some of the applicants are still waiting to receive their disability allowances, others have given up hopes for the grants to build homes. But their plight has not drawn much attention, alleged many differently abled people from the district.

Maheshwara Sahu, a resident of Baghamari Villege, who suffered paralysis in his legs owing to diabetes in 2018, has been waiting for his allowances since then. It seems the tales of his ordeal didn’t make it to the desk of the concerned officials since the last three years.

Expressing his frustration, Maheshwar said, “I've been making appeals to the officials for years to get my allowances approved following operation in my leg, but it hasn't been approved yet.”

Another appalling story involves visually impaired Pratap Mallik of Bhubaneswar, who has been appealing for a house for years. But, what he has got is dejection and denial.

However, following the repeated claims made by the differently abled people, the district administration recently convened a review meeting to address the problem.

Collector and District Magistrate Sangram Mohapatra told reporters, “By November 15, the ten blocks of the district will work on the applications of those who are in need and will help them address their problems. This was decided in the meeting and we shall stick to it.”

Likewise, the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Sulochana Das said, “It will be the responsibility of district administrations, NGOs, and representatives from special schools in the coming days to create an inclusive society in which disabled people will be given their rights which would not be violated.”

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